My first 14 days Europe trip, and how it all started my love for Europe

My first Europe trip in 2012, I have to say, is the most competitive (kiasu) self planned Europe trip ever ! I did 6 countries, 9 cities, 7 train connections (with a total of 42 hours train time) in 14 days !

6 Countries : Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Vatican City, and France

9 Cities: Frankfurt, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Rome, Vatican City, Milan, and Paris


I haven’t travelled like that ever since. Back at that time, I was young and ambitious, overly excited and eager to want to cover as much as I can. Nowadays, when I can take a 2 weeks break, I prefer to do maximum 3 cities.

The 2012 experience was fun, don’t get me wrong. There were just some times when I thought it was a bit too exhaustive, or it felt like we were rushing through the program just to make sure I stay on schedule.

The 12 hours sleeper train from Vienna to Venice was a once in a lifetime experience, and one I prefer not to do again. Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep that night, worrying about the other persons in my cabin, will my bags be still there in the morning etc.


Anyway, if you are young and energetic, and want to be inspired by my competitive itinerary, read on ! Even if you are thinking this is crazy, I encourage you to use my itinerary as a reference or starting point, and maybe customise it to make it your own !

Check out my previous post on how to budget your next Europe trip !


Day 1 : Frankfurt, Germany

We flew in Frankfurt early morning. Checked in our hotel. In the afternoon, we checked out the Palmengarten (entrance fee 7 EUR). If you love flora, you should visit this, they have quite a good collection of flowers and plants.

jermpins frankfurt Palmengarten
Palmengarten, Frankfurt

Otherwise, I would say Frankfurt is a pretty boring town. It is the financial hub for Germany. Nightlife in Frankfurt is pretty much dead.

#jermeats : Try the Curry wurst (bratwurst with curry sauce), and Kaseplunder (pastry with a dollop of tangy lemon curd in the centre)

Day 2 & 3 : Berlin, Germany

We took first morning train from Frankfurt to Berlin (4.5 hours). Checked in Westin Grand Berlin.

In Berlin, we joined the Sandemans New Berlin free walking tour. It is free for real, but they encourage you to tip the guide at the end. The tour was in English, and our guide was very nice and brought us to all the famous landmarks in Berlin, explaining to us the history and stories behind.

We also visited the Museumsinsel (5 museums on an island). Check out my Berlin post for more stories and photos !

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Berliner dom, Berlin

On Day 3, we took the last train leaving Berlin to Prague (5 hours), arriving at 2330 hrs.

Day 4 : Prague, Czech Republic

We had only one day planned for Prague, so we decided to take it slow (that is no tours, no museums etc), and just wander around the old town.

jermpins prague old town square
Old town square, Prague

Sandemans also offers the New Prague free walking tour if you are interested.

In the evening, we watched the Prague Symphony Orchestra, who performed together with pianist Freddy Kempf on Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concerto, conducted by Zdenek Macal, in the beautiful Smetana hall.

jermpins prague smetana hall
Smetana hall, Prague

We took the midnight train from Prague to Vienna (6 hours), arriving early morning.

Day 5 : Vienna, Austria

We had Vienna planned as a stopover, i.e. we arrived early morning, and would later catch the 12 hours sleeper train to Venice. This was one part of the plan we regretted.

We arrived Vienna exhausted, stored our baggages away in lockers at the train station. The first thing we did was find a park bench, and took an energiser nap to recharge !

In Vienna, I really love the Schonbrunn palace (summer palace). It is huge ! You really must check this out if you ever stop by Vienna.

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#jermeats : Must try the Sacher torte (basically chocolate cake), we tried the original at Hotel Sacher, it was really rich but a tad too sweet for me.

jermpins vienna sacher torte
Sacher torte, Vienna

Our sleeper train departed Vienna around 2040 hrs, headed towards Venice.

Day 6 & 7 : Venice, Italy

We arrived Venice at about 0830 hrs, at the beautiful Santa Lucia station.

Venice, was the highlight of my 2012 Europe trip. I was just blown away from the moment I stepped off the train station, seeing the canals, bridges, and boats. It was as overcrowded as everyone says it, but you must stay the night (after the day tripper leave), to experience a complete different of sight of Venice.

Check out my post on Venice for more stories and photos !

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View of the Salute from vaporetto, Venice

On Day 7, we took the evening train from Venice to Rome (4 hours), arriving about 1030 hrs.

Day 8 : Rome, Italy

If you have watched Angels & Demons, the film adaption of Dan’s Brown novel of the same name, Rome needs no introduction. Besides the famous and gorgeous landmarks, e.g. Colosseum, Roman forum, Trevi fountain, Pantheon etc., what I enjoyed most in Rome was exploring and finding all the fountains (fontana in Italian), squares (piazza in Italian), and churches that were featured the film !

Check out this self guided Angels & Demons walking tour. Otherwise, you can always join the paid tour.

#jermeats : Rome is one of those cities that you can find good food anywhere you go ! If there’s just one thing you must try, it is Gelato ! It is the real deal ! If you are an Eat Pray Love fan like me, then you must check out San Crispino. Some say this is the best gelato in the world. To me, any gelato in Rome is comparable to San Crispino. Just eat gelato everywhere you go when in Rome !

jermpins rome vatican city San Crispino gelato
San Crispino gelato, Rome

Tip: Return to the Colosseum at night, it is even more beautiful !

jermpins rome vatican city colosseum night
Colosseum at night

Day 9 : Vatican City

At Vatican City, you want to do the complete package, i.e. climb the 551 steps up St Peter’s Basilica dome for the amazing panorama view, visit the Vatican museum, and also Sistine Chapel for the infamous fresco by Michelangelo.

jermpins rome vatican city St Peter's square
St Peter’s square, Vatican City
jermpins rome vatican city Panorama view from St Peter's basilica dome
Panorama view from St Peter’s basilica dome

Day 10 : Milan

We took the first train out of Rome to Milan (3.5 hours). Arriving at Milan, I realised I messed up my hotel booking, i.e. booked the wrong date ! And we also later found out that it is Milan fashion week, which means all hotels would have been fully booked ! Lucky for us, our hotel owner made some calls, and managed to find us a room at another nearby hotel for the same rate we booked ours.

We didn’t do much in Milan. At this point of the travel, we were too exhausted, we just wanted to rest and not be bothered about what to see & eat etc.

We just did some shopping, and met up with my primary school mate (who was coincidentally in Milan) for lunch !

Day 11 & 12 & 13 : Paris, France

From Milan, we took the TGV to Paris (7 hours).

In Paris, we did the usuals, i.e. Champs Elysees, Tour Eiffel, Musee du Louvre, Pont des Arts, Notre Dame de Paris etc.

jermpins Pyramide du Louvre at night, Paris
Pyramide du Louvre at night, Paris

Check out my post on Paris, and why I have a love hate relationship with her. 

Day 14 : Berlin, Germany

On Day 14, we flew out of Paris in the morning, to Berlin, only to watch Berlin Philharmoniker performed Beethoven Symphony no. 7.

The next day, we took the first plane out to Frankfurt, and later took our return flight back home to Malaysia.


TL;DR

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28 thoughts on “My first 14 days Europe trip, and how it all started my love for Europe

    1. That is an intense 14-days of Europe trip! I don’t know if I could do that same travel style, too fast, and I prefer to stay and immersed myself 2 or 3 days per city.

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    1. Can’t really pinpoint one favourite destination ! But definitely Italy for the food and gelato, Paris for pastries, cheese, and wine; Barcelona for sangria .. the list goes on ! =p

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  1. Can’t believe you did all this in 14 days although when I was younger and just started travelling, I felt very competitive too and always wanted to see a million things in a short amount of time. I love going to the symphony too so very cool you got to attend two!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing! My first trip to Europe was a whirlwind 18 countries in 3 months. I would love to go back and explore the cities that i loved for a longer time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Its great that you visited all these places but didn’t you feel it was a bit rushed with the distances involved? I do a lot of traveling in Europe and all these places like Berlin, Roma and Paris all need at least 3-4 days just to scratch the service. It maybe just me but when I go exploring new cities, I want to check a lot about the place out. I used to rush them in the past but now I spend at least 3 days minimum.

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  4. I can totally relate because when I began travelling as well, this is exactly how I did it. I did 5 countries and 9 cities in 2 weeks as well and pretty much the same ones as you. And with time, I began to take it easy and realised, you need to spend more time in a country, go off-beat, visit some not-so-popular too because they can be really gorgeous and overlooked! Europe has so much to see, one cannot help but want to cover a lot! I am yet to make it to Berlin and Frankfurt, but when I go, I will probably spend 2 weeks in exploring Germany alone.

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  5. A love affair with Europe can be never-ending. From larger cities to unknown villages to countryside to natural landscapes, there is no dearth of beauty to be found. The deeper one goes, the stronger the pull of this continent gets.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! I got exhausted reading your post and it takes a lot for me to get exhausted! I tend to do a lot when I travel too because I’ve made the “I need to go back because” mistake too many times. But that is a lot in 14 days! I still want to visit Prague. And I totally agree with your Vienna suggestions (I loved the Sacher torte but it is rich!). I haven’t made it to Venice yet, only Rome and you’re right. Any food in Italy is good. Gelato and limoncello being my faves!

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  7. Wow that’s a lot of travelling you did in 14 days and glad you covered so many cities/ countries. Europe indeed has so many beautiful places that you wish to see all at once and these are on my bucket list too. I would love to try that chocolate cake from Vienna.Also now I would find it exhausting ,but like you said when you’re young and energetic you try to cover as much as possible :D. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Hahaha, I agree that when we are young we have so much energy and don’t’ even think twice about stuff like this. Now that I am older, I definitely don’t have the energy or will to hop around numerous cities within 14 days. Crazy on day 5 in Vienna, Austria you literally slept on a park bench. Another thing I could possibly do when I was younger, but would absolutely never do now! 🙂

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  9. 6 countries, 9 cities and 42 hours train? Wow you are on a roll. I so far done 5 countries and my favorite cities would be Rotterdam in Netherlands, Berlin in Germany, Paris in France and Krakow in Poland. I love your trip.. keep it up!

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  10. Wow you managed to cover a lot of places in 14 days. For first timers in Europe, this itinerary looks amazing. I would have loved to visit Italy in my Europe visit like you did along with other countries too.

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